Ethan Mechare talks cleaning in the nude, how Oprah helped him find his calling, and why you should join him in a living room in Bounds Green for an evening for a theatrical experience like no other.
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I love spot cleaning. It’s true. You probably don’t even know what spot cleaning is, do you? It’s that tea ring stain near your kettle or the unidentifiable dribble down the handle of your microwave or those fingerprints on your white door or, okay, I’ll stop now. I can’t stand those spots so I grab my bottle of Cillit Bang (incredible name for a cleaning product) and a Mr. Clean Magic Erasure and wipe them out ASAP.
When I moved to London from Los Angeles I was looking to take a break from acting and TV presenting so I used my O: The Oprah Magazine (did you know Oprah has a monthly magazine full of great tips on how to live your best life and how to navigate menopause? Perfect for a young man like myself. No? Well, she does and I have it shipped from the States!) to find my new true calling. Turns out I not only love spot cleaning. I like to do it naked. (Pass me the Cillit Bang, please!) So I turned it into a burgeoning business and I became a professional naked house cleaner. Like Oprah I was going to build an empire. Mine would just look a bit different.
After a year of working as a naked house cleaner I realised I had become more than just that. I was also a therapist to my clients, a naked entertainer and a friend to some (one client taught me to play backgammon and we’d play it together after I finished cleaning- me still naked, he fully clothed). I was learning that sexual fantasy was on all of our minds but very few people spoke about it and when they did it was in hushed secret tones. Like Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn’t help but wonder about all the ways in which we shame ourselves for having fantasies in the first place- you know, like when we do, we’re suddenly dirty, slutty, nasty pigs. It seemed ludicrous that we could be so ashamed of desiring sex or sexual intrigue in certain situations or places when A LOT of people on this planet engage in sex every single day. Besides death and coffee it may be one of the most uniting traits among our species. However, people don’t like to talk about it. But why? And furthermore, why?
So I wrote a show about it. It’s a theatre show that doesn’t take place in a theatre. It takes place in people’s living rooms. Because just as I went to strangers’ houses to meet them and clean their tangible “filth” and chat and entertain I thought the audience should have that feeling, too. (Don’t worry, audience members don’t have to clean or get their kit off but just sit back and listen to my wild tales!) I was ecstatic when I saw that CPT was curating a festival around sex because we just don’t see it or talk about it enough in live theatre. Cinema often celebrates (and exploits) sex but theatre has yet to cross that mainstream boundary. I’ve set out to create a new kind of theatrical experience, a show that feels relaxed and interactive in a comfortable setting, that makes you laugh at the uncomfortable, that hopefully gets you thinking and talking and maybe you’ll make a friend – if not with a stranger in the audience, than with me.
Coming Clean: Life As A Naked House Cleaner will be a part of CPT’s Hotbed festival 4-6 May in a cosy living room in Bounds Green (on the Piccadilly line) at 7:30PM. Tickets here!